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Chrissi Kelly: I lost my sense of smell

Point of View is an ITV News series where we invite people to share their life experiences and what they've learned from them.

One morning in 2012, Chrissi Kelly woke up, went into the bathroom, brushed her teeth and realised she couldn't smell anything. She says she was "panic-striken" and describes it as a "terrible experience".

Chrissi had been suffering from a very bad sinus infection, which caused her to lose her sense of smell (anosmia).

Living without a sense of smell, is like suddenly not being able to communicate on some channel that you never knew you had."

"It profoundly affected me and it took me about six months to really reach rock bottom."

– Chrissi Kelly

Chrissi routinely left the gas on and left the stove on.

But she says the worst part of losing her sense of smell, is the loss of the smell of people. Her husband, her children and the environment.

Credit: ITV News Meridian

Chrissi decided to attend a week-long perfumery course, "against logic".

It changed everything for her. For five days, from 9am to 5pm, Chrissi was in a classroom, smelling things.

At the end of the course, on the Friday, there was a wine tasting. It was the first time since losing her sense of smell that Chrissi tasted something.

Suddenly, she could pick out individual parts of a smell instead of having the whole thing run together.

That's what sparked her interest in smell training.

Chrissi started a basic website, but soon realised that her mission was "greater than that". That is what led Chrissi to start the charity AbScent.

Chrissi describes her smell training as Credit: ITV News Meridian

Chrissi now runs smell training courses from her home in Chilbolton in Hampshire, which she describes as "physiotherapy for the nose".

It involves smelling essential oils twice a day which re-trains the brain to smell by stimulating the olfactory nerve to regenerate.

It's also a chance for people to meet others facing the same loss.

Smell training is not a cure, but can bring improvements for those who have lost their sense of smell through injury or accident.

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